California’s wealthiest do not think that they should be subject to the same restrictions on water consumption as everyone else, the Washington Post reports. Rich people pay higher property taxes and are therefore entitled to more water and poor people are just going to have to suck it up.
“We pay significant property taxes based on where we live,” Steve Yuhas, a resident of the affluent Rancho Santa Fe, said. “And, no, we’re not all equal when it comes to water.”
According to the Post, water consumption in Rancho Santa Fe actually went up by nine percent after Governor Jerry Brown called for a 25 percent reduction in water use in April. That, however, is going to change: As of July 1, Rancho Santa Fe will be subject to water rationing.
In a place where the median income is $189,000, where PGA legend Phil Mickelson once requested a separate water meter for his chipping greens, where financier Ralph Whitworth last month paid the Rolling Stones $2 million to play at a local bar, the fine, at $100, was less than intimidating.
“It’s no longer a ‘You can only water on these days’” situation, Santa Fe Irrigation District spokeswoman Jessica Parks said. “It’s now more of a ‘This is the amount of water you get within this billing period. And if you go over that, there will be high penalties.’”
And man, oh man are people upset about that! “I’m a conservative, so this is strange, but I defend Barbra Streisand’s right to have a green lawn,” said Yuhas, who hosts a radio talks show and also has a home in Los Angeles. “When we bought, we didn’t plan on getting a place that looks like we’re living in an African savanna.”
“I call it the war on suburbia,” Brett Barbre, of Orange County’s Yorba City, said.
“It angers me because people aren’t looking at the overall picture,” Gay Butler, an interior designer who the Post apparently interviewed while she was out riding her show horse (!) said. “What are we supposed to do, just have dirt around our house on four acres?” What, indeed.